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Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Welcome everybody to the last post in May!  Time sure does fly doesn't it?  Why, it seems like only yesterday I was doodling around in my sketchbook, working on concepts to send to MAD Magazine hoping to score some work.  Truth be told, I don't look at old sketches very often but recently, my good friend Mark Stokes (Zombie Boy) posted one of his early sketches of the demon dog Gorr.  It got me thinking that maybe it was time I sift through the CRAZY archives (no easy task) and post the very first drawings of those super stretchy tykes, Mike and Mindy! 

These next few drawings were quite a jolt for me.  I'm still not exactly sure what led to the creation of Mike and Mindy other than desperation maybe.  They started off in solo comics after all as anonymous characters in Mushrooms.  I guess I thought more about "Tom and Jerry" and the "Road Runner and Coyote" and remembered my favorite 'toons were always done as duos.  A bunch of random sketches later, I had my duo!

 Here we see the VERY first sketch I did of Mindy.  If you look close enough, you can see where I erased the polkadots off her dress.  Not too much else has changed since.  The most noticeable differences are that her forehead didn't dip in back then and her eyes did not touch, a problem I remedied relatively soon after.  The bulgy, overlapping eyes are a characteristic I absolutely love!  It reminds me so much of the Muppets.  Jim Henson was my idol as a kid.  Not surprising I'd want to pay homage somehow.

 Next up, we got the birth of Mike!  Here, he was known as "Mike the Gentleman" because he was gonna be more of a goody two-shoes originally.  Given that his forehead dips in and his eyes overlap, I must've had my "AH HA!" moment with my style by then.  Very little has actually changed on Mike physically, although his spikes tended to droop a bit more early on.  His hair has varied over the years, as it's tough to keep track of exactly how long those spikes really are!  You'll also notice his shirt had WAY more stripes back then.  Why make the change?  Because sometimes less is more.  That and drawing that many stripes was a pain in the ass!  I should also note the the stipe on his actual shirt has gotten bigger over time, while the stripes on his sleeves remain small.  You'll also notice that even back then, Mike's always had issues remembering to tie that one shoe!  (Very astute readers will also note that each month, the untied shoe switches feet!)

Here we see the very first color study of Mike and Mindy including hand-written notes so I'd remember what colors to use!  It's odd, but colors are something I've always felt comfortable with despite having no formal art training (Shows don't it?).  I didn't try to experiment with them.  When I looked through my markers, I just knew what I wanted.  Blue's my favorite color, so I knew right away I wanted to incorporate that into Mike's look.  With Mindy, I wanted colors that were obviously feminine but would really play well off of each other.  Purple's a fairly neutral color among genders so I picked a lighter shade for Mindy.  That particular shade of pink really jumped off the color swatch, so I picked it for her bow and shoes.  Needless to say, I'm glad I did!

 Here, we see Mike and Mindy today!  The colors haven't changed at all, but the look certainly has!  As you noticed in the previous images, Mike and Mindy were a lot more stiff-looking in their original appearance.  Now, they have a far more fluid, more loose look.  That came with time more than anything.  The only real style change I knowingly made was in the way I drew their feet.  I used to draw them at an odd looking angle.  Now I draw their feet from a front view which I feel looks much better.  As I got more comfortable as an artist, I learned to just let my pencil and pens do the thinking for me.  
And thus concludes our look at (VERY) early Mike and Mindy!  Why show these early sketches you ask?  Aside from being inspired by a friend and mentor, I also wanted to show you, dear reader, that practice does in fact make perfect!  In December of 2009, I had no idea where my career (if you could even call it that back then) was going.  But I kept at it.  I got feedback.  I worked hard.  Now, I have a following, two books out and a T-Shirt line.  The point is, good things can come if you work for it.  There are no shortcuts.  If you wanna achieve your goals, be ready to give it your all and don't quit.  

That's all for now folks.  I'll be back next time with a New Mike and Mindy comic that'll have you "Leaping" for joy!  And if you're heading to the Calgary Stampede in July, or just plain like Rodeos, than click here to get your EXCLUSIVE MIKE AND MINDY STAMPEDE SHIRT!  It's a "Bucking" good ride!  Anyway, take care, and I'll catch y'all later! 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Welcome!  Welcome!  Welcome!  It's time for another round of CRAZY here at the 'Stuff!  You see that image above?  It's from the rack at Phone Booth Comics in Lebanon, OR!  That's right!  My books are now available at an honest-to-God comics shop!  This is one of the greatest feelings ever.  After five years, three Cons and two books, I finally feel like a real cartoonist!  Big thanks to Jeremy Rowan, one of the shop's owners, for making it happen.  He's given a lot of indie artists a chance to shine at his store, and we're all in debt to him.  So if you're in Oregon, take a trek over to Lebanon and get CRAZY at Phone Booth Comics!

It's Fan Art week here, and I got a pair of 'toons from a couple of young fans from across the globe!  So let's kick this show into high gear!

 First up is Noah Carolan from England!  Looks like he's strip hopping.  Good thing he got out of there before those two grabbed their infamous helium tank!  Noah does his own comic series called Nerdy Cartoons and is quite the talent!  He's no doubt somebody we'll all be keeping an eye out for in the future!  Thanks again Noah!

 Next up, my little buddy Alex Connor from West Virginia!  Alex has sent in Fan Art before and has become one of Mike and Mindy's biggest fans!  According to his mom, Chandra, he even decorated his Easter Eggs as Mike and Mindy and drew a shot-for-shot remake of M&M's first comic!  Nice work Alex!  keep 'em coming!

And now for something very special.  In recent months, many of you have asked about my creative process and how I go about doing my comics.  Truth be told, there's really nothing special that I do as opposed to others.  I have no secret techniques or methods.  But I do have a process and here it is, courtesy of the art I'm doing for an upcoming kids story by my good pal Warren Frantz called The Green Three...


 Here's where it all begins.  As an artist, there's really nothing more exciting or scary as a blank page as it can go in ANY direction.  I tend to write my stories out in a composition book and then move onto a rough drawing to get an idea of what I want.  Lately I've been free-handing a lot of comics as I feel the roughs are more fluid than the final pieces.  This is one of those cases.


 Next up is the penciling of the piece.  While I didn't do a rough of this, I had a really good idea based off of Warren's script. (This is why writing the stories out is such an important step!)  Here, I have a lot of freedom and can add or subtract as I please.  I use a light Non-Photo Blue Sketcher pencil because it erases well and won't show up on scans even if colored over.


Now here's the tricky part.  Inking can be a lot of fun but requires a LOT of patience and this is where mistakes tend to happen the most.  Even the best cartoonists make mistakes, so try to be relaxed when reaching this stage.  If you need a break, TAKE ONE!!!  I used to use Sharpie pens but switched last year to PITT Pens by Faber-Castell.  My pen sizes vary but I tend to use "S" and "XS" the most.  Bear in mind those are just the pens I use.  There are MANY different types and varieties.  Feel free to experiment!


My favorite part!  Like inks, this one requires patience as mistakes are inevitable.  I use PrismaColor Markers simply because I had a coupon and that was all that Michaels carried!  Be wary though because they do spread!  I usually pinpoint it while coloring, which is very carefully and softly coloring in the characters/objects.  Copic and Sharpie also make good art markers with many color varieties.  Copics aren't cheap though so be ready to pay.  If a surface is large and needs an even color or a piece requires touch-ups and corrections, I simply use Photoshop.  In fact, you can color the whole thing digitally if you want to, but that's kinda cheating!

And there you have it!  The CRAZY Creative Process!  I hope you all enjoyed some insight into what goes into putting out comics like Mike and Mindy and Mushrooms.  It's not always easy, but it's still some the most fun I have!  Be on the look out for me and Warren's Green Three collaboration sometime in early Fall!

And that's all for now folks!  I'll be back next time with more CRAZY fun! Until then, have a fun and safe Memorial Day and I'll catch y'all later!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Howdy folks!  The big family Disneyland trip was a HUGE success!  So much fun and good times with my brother, sister-in-law, cousins, niece and nephews... I didn't want it to end!  I felt like a kid again I did.  Oh well.  Nothing lasts forever I'm afraid.  We'll just have to have even MORE fun next time we do it! 

Well folks, Mushrooms is back after a one week hiatus and it's time for some more Rock puns!  Enjoy..

 So much fun drawing this one!  Some bands just make it too easy.  If only my real garden were like that.  And those spin gags are such a pain to draw, but you can't deny the effectiveness!  And I don't care what anybody says; Sega Genesis was THE best console ever!  And had Alice actually existed, she probably would've been chained up for being crazy! (Society was far crueler back then)  And by the way, I am TOTALLY aware that Gallagher smashes watermelons!  I decided to take some creative license here so cut me some slack!  The third panel is by far my favorite as it gave Mike and Mindy a chance to hang out with some of their Web Comic Pals!  Clockwise from the top: Weird Kid (Dawn Griffin's Z&F); Chris (Lunarbaboon's Lunarbaboon); Dougie, Keith and Wayne (Joshua Hauke's Brothers Three); Austin (Austin Verburg's Austin's Inferno); Gully (Warren Frantz's Off Season); Dave (DA Schubert's By the Fingernails); and of course Zombie Boy (Mark Stokes' Zombie Boy)!  All these comics are well worth reading!  Click those links now!

We end our post on a sad note this week as visual effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen passed away recently.  Were it not for this man, there'd be no Star Wars, no Terminator, no Avatar, Indiana Jones, Matrix, E.T....  I could go on for hours here.  He MADE the special effects industry.  He also did it without computers, making his work even more amazing.  Granted, stop motion animation has its limits, but Ray always put everything into his work.  At times, the acting of his creatures was even better than the actual actors in the film!  He was a true inspiration not only to me, but millions of people the World over.  One of the greatest joys of my life was meeting Ray at the San Diego Comic Con 2007.  He was most gracious, answering all my questions, signing my book and even posing for a picture.  It's a moment I'll cherish for as long as I live.  

Thank you Mr. Harryhausen.  Thank you for your art, for your time, for your dedication and for letting a little boy believe that monsters could be real.  You were one of a kind.

That's all for now folks.  I'll be back next time with some great Mike and Mindy Fan Art from some young fans.  Until then, take care and I'll catch y'all next time!

Saturday, May 4, 2013


Happy Cinco de Mayo CRAZYVERSERS!!!  Due to an insanely busy two weeks, the New Mushrooms won't be going up until next Thursday.  But I still had to post SOMETHING for the CRAZY faithful, so please enjoy this NEW Splash Page!  Mike and Mindy decided to practice their Mariachi Music this weekend.  Too bad Mindy was standing too close to Mike's violin bow.  Talk about a big "Reveal!"  Quite the festive bloomers there Mindy.  They really "Heated" things up in this Splash!  Wonder if this is what they mean by adding "Spice" to one's life?!

Well, that's all folks.  Gonna be finishing up a long call at work on Tuesday and then head off to Disneyland for a Family Reunion the rest of the week!  It's gonna be insane fun y'all!  I'll be back next time though with a "Rocking" new Mushrooms that'll have everybody "Dancing" I'm sure!  Until then, take care and I'll catch y'all later!  

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Welcome, welcome, welcome everyone to the CRAZYVERSE!!!  It's been insanely busy in my work life as shows pick up, and my creative life has nearly become a full-time job!  Next week's gonna be even CRAZIER as me and my ENTIRE family take a trip up to Disneyland, the first time ever my family has had such an event!  Indeed, happy times are on the way!  I'll definitely be finding my "Laughing Place" on this expedition!   

Anyway, May is here, and that can mean only one thing... Memorial Day BBQ?  Well, I guess that's somewhat true, but not what I had in mind. Nope.  It's an all New Mike and Mindy!  Those two have finally thought up a way to get to school!  A familiar means to them that will certainly lead to softer landing at least.  This is the tykes' final attempt to beat the bus.  Will they make it?  Or will their "Balloon" be popped yet again!

 Would you look at that?  All that effort and they had the day off the whole time!  Talk about letting the "Air" out of one's tires!  Those two certainly got "Pumped" full of failure!  Perhaps next time those boneheads will actually look at the notes their teacher sends home!  And you know what the real irony here is?  In all the time they wasted devising ways to get to school, they probably could've just walked there and made it!  Well, if we didn't fall, how else will we learn?

With my Birthday being last week, I got a few really cool Fan Art Pieces from friends and fans!  This beauty came from Twitter Pal Lynn Andrews of 6 Color Stories

I really love the colors and style of this piece.  It reminds me of Adventure Time.  Thanks again Lynn!  I really appreciate it!

I have quite a few other Fan Art Pieces that'll be showing up here in the coming months!  So to all of you that sent one in, please be patient.  I promise I didn't forget and your piece WILL be posted here at the CRAZYVERSE!

Fan Art is ALWAYS welcome folks!  If you wanna show Mike and Mindy some love, simply send your art to:

PLEASE KEEP IT FAMILY FRIENDLY!!!  The Comics of the CRAZYVERSE are for ALL ages, so let's keep the Fan Art that way too.  I'm also happy to take sketch card commissions as well, so e-mail me or hit me up on Twitter to get my rates!

Well, that's all for now.  I'll catch y'all for a special post on Sunday featuring a "Spicy" New Splash Page with Mike and Mindy as they celebrate Cinco de Mayo!  This one's quite "Revealing" y'all, so be sure to "Toon" in!  Until then, take care and I'll catch y'all later!